Jeremy Paster’s Waistcoat
August 4, 2007
Jeremy lent me his waistcoat for this trip.
Jeremy’s waistcoat is one of those sports waistcoats with lots of pockets. It’s made of mesh so that you can wear it in any weather over anything and it doesn’t affect how hot/cold you are, so it’s more a tool really, than an item of clothing. It is pretty much the perfect piece of attire to wear in the type of submarines we are using because there is not much space in there if you want to bring in any little bits and pieces with you. Having pockets you can reach easily around you makes storing things for the dive so much easier. One member of the team even uses a form of photographer’s shoulder holster system to be able to organize the equipment he takes with him.
Jeremy’s waistcoat has a small Greenpeace patch on the front, but on the back is a large patch with the legend “Forest crimes unit”. I first saw him wearing it when on my first trip to Alaska with Greenpeace. It was also on the Esperanza, and I was a deckhand on board during that trip. We were up here working on supporting the movement to protect the Tongass coastal temperate rainforest from the destructive logging practices that continue to threaten its ecosystem to this day. Jeremy taught me many things on that trip, and my respect for his passion and commitment to the forest and environmental movement swayed me to become a true believer and self confessed tree hugger. He would absolutely love this gig.
Jeremy’s waistcoat is sitting on the back of his chair at his desk in the Greenpeace office in San Francisco. I was so pressed for time on my last day packing on my way up here for this expedition that I ended up not being able to head in to pick it up. I think of it every time I get in the submarines and look for places to put my notepad, pen, spare pen, cliff bar, water bottle, GPS, little camera, spare batteries, multi-tool, photo of the beautiful and inimitable Ashby, my good luck piece of red jasper, bits of paper with lists of things to remember on them, gloves and spare rag to wipe away any condensation. I carry a small bag that it all goes in, and I stuff it into a tiny space between the joystick for the manipulator, the switches for the thrusters, compass, hydraulics, and under the O2 analyzer and cabin pressure gauges. It’s tight, but if I’m careful when I grab things from it, it works well enough.
Jeremy’s waistcoat however, would have been way easier to deal with and I shake my head, grinning, every time I think about it.
Jeremy is in my head today as his friends and family gather with him near his home to take part in a healing circle to support him on his journey battling with cancer. He opened my eyes to a side of Alaska I would not have seen without him, and I hope to return the favor with the work we are carrying out here today in the Bering Sea.
Go deep brother!